Monday, September 14, 2015

Bharatpur & Chambal - Birding in World's Best Birding Area - 10th to 13th Feb.,2016

Date: 10th February, 2016 afternoon 4.00 pm to 13th February, 2016 eve 7.00 pm (Travel days excluded). The bookings for the Meticulously planned Bharatpur / Chambal WLS bird-watching trip are on… your seats now (see the complete details at the end of this blog).....Birdwatch in one of the India's greatest birding hot-spots with Nature India...... 
Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur

A non-birder may often ask you “Are you are a bird-watcher? Then you must visit the Bharatpur bird Sanctuary, there are many birds including those that come from Siberia”.....even a lay person knowing this place is not surprising, since, Bharatpur was the only known / recognized Bird-watching site before 1990’s, the most famous and talked about. No wonder Sir Peter Scott, founder of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and famous ornithologist from UK once said that “Bharatpur is World’s best bird area”. Indeed, this was one of the favourite places of late Dr.Salim Ali too, who carried out extensive studies on migratory birds here.

Nature India announces Bird-watching trip to "best birding area in the world", Bharatpur, from 11th to 13th February 2016.... Bookings are open....only limited seats, so book fassstttt...

UNESCO included this Ramsar site as a World Heritage Site, in 2002, and the description by UNESCO says,  “Habitat of rare and endangered species. The park is a wetland of international importance for migratory waterfowl. It is the wintering ground and habitat for large numbers of resident nesting birds.”
(Thanks to Ansar Khan & Chotu Khan for allowing us to use some of their excellent images of Bharatpur)

Initially this land was just a natural depression, where Maharaja Suraj Mal, then ruler Bharatpur constructed Ajan Bund (the bund was created at the confluence of Gambhir & Banganga river). It became famous hunting ground for Maharajas & the British viceroys. There are records of killing 4000+ birds in one shoot!! Later on some common sense prevailed and park was established as National Park on 10th March 1982. In 1982, grazing was banned in the park, leading to violent clashes between local farmers and the government.

The name Keoladeo is derived from the Lord Shiva temple present inside sanctuary, the area is locally called as Ghana (simply means dense or thicket) & hence the name, Keoladeo Ghana National Park. The park is 2 kilometers (km) south-east of Bharatpur town and 50 km west of Agra. The Park is spread over approx 29 sq. km. area. One third of the Keoladeo National Park habitat is wetland systems with varying types of microhabitats having trees, mounds, dykes and open water with or without submerged or emergent plants. The habitats include Grassland, Woodland & Arid land in varying density.

Birding in Bharatpur

Half of the bird-watching population that visit Bharatpur are foreigners, not just because of the strategic position (close to Agra), but also for the amazing diversity of more than 400 species that have been recorded in such a small area. Ornithologically, the park assumes significance in two respects: One because of its strategic location as a staging ground for migratory waterfowl arriving in the Indian subcontinent before dispersing to various regions and secondly, the wetland is a wintering area for massive congregations of waterfowl. Till 2002, the critically endangered Siberian Cranes also used to come here. Bharatpur is also known for some breeding residents like Sarus Crane. It is also home to a healthy population of mammal species.....However, since 2002 the water crises (because it is an artificial wetland that received water from "Ajan Bund" and for which the farmers around the region declined to give water) lead to the deterioration of the park. However, after the completion of the ambitious "Govardhan Canal" project, the Park is receiving water since last year, and the glorious days are back :-)

The Birding can be done along the various paths that criss-cross the park and in various habitats – Nursery, Sapan Mori, Keoladeo Temple, Koladhar (arid zone), Forest tract.... each of these spots can give you a different experience and we have meticulously planned the trip accordingly.

Birds to look out for: Herons, Storks, Cormorants, Waders, Migratory ducks (including Gadwall, Shoveller, Common Teal, Cotton Pygmy goose, Tufted Ducks, Comb Duck, Mallard, Ferruginous, Common Pochard, Indian Spotbilled Duck, Grey-lag & Bar-headed Goose), Darters, Ibises, Pelicans etc. Also, Warblers, Babblers, Bee-eaters, Buntings, Chats, Francolins, Hornbills, Quails and a very good variety of Raptors (Including Pallas’s, Spotted, Imperial, Tawny, Bonell’s, Booted, Steppe, Serpent Eagles). The Olws are easy to see and are in good nos. (including Dusky & Eurasian Eagle Owl, Collard & Oriental Scops Owls). The Park also has Marshall’s Iora, Thrushes, Rubythroat and various Nightjars (roosting).

Mammals & Other Fauna: Nilgai, Jackal, Spotted & Sambar Deer, Blackbuck, Fishing & Jungle Cat, Mongoose, Smooth Indian Otter, Civets, Wild Boar, Monitor Lizard, Indian Python, Reshus Macaques, Langurs etc.


National Chambal Sanctuary

National Chambal Sanctuary is a 5400sq. km park, protected by three staes, namely, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh. We will be covering the Dholpur, Rajasthan are of the sanctuary for the boat safari. The river sanctuary not only provides beautiful landscapes but also a wonderful place for bird/wildlife-watchers & photographers. 

The National Chambal Sanctuary was formed to protect this pristine river ecosystem (425 kms in length), complete with its varied flora and avifauna. The Chambal river which is mainstay for the entire wildlife of the sanctuary harbours a variety of aquatic life like the elusive Ganges River Dolphin, Crocodile (Mugger), Gharial ( Gavelia Gangeticus ), Freshwater Turtles, River Otters and a various species of fishes. All of which can be seen by tourists within the sanctuary area, especially in the middle reaches in the downside of Rajghat Bridge on National Highway No. 3.  This river-which is one of the cleanest rivers in the country, boasts of a population of over 200 Crocodiles and 1600 Gharials. Active efforts are now to protect the Ganges River Dolphins, which can sometimes be seen here if one is lucky.

The surrounding environs of the river are a true bird watchers delight. During the season November-March) one can see hundreds of migratory and resident birds flock at the shores of river. Species such as the Bar-headed Geese, Brahminy Duck, Great Thick-knee, Black-billed Terns, Laggar & Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Lesser Whistling Ducks, River Lapwing, Comb Ducks, Large Cormorants, Small Pratincoles can be easily seen here. This place is particularly famous to sight the Indian Skimmer- the highest population of which in the world is found in Chambal.

Tourists to the sanctuary can enjoy its many sights by motor boats specially provided by the Forest Department. And one can freely enjoy the natural wonders of the sanctuary which during the 50's and 60's was largely hidden due to the presence of dacoits.

Tour Itinerary & Other Details:

Date: 10th Feb, 2016 afternoon 4.00 pm to 13th Feb, 2016 eve 07.00 pm (travel days excluded)

Mode of Travel : Cycle Rickshaw (2 person per rickshaw) and on foot (The only best travel option to move around the places quickly)

Overnight train travel can be booked from Mumbai to Bharatpur (by participants).....however since it is a busy sector, the train bookings should be done soon to get the desired train and class .....Nature India can ASSIST in bookings if required (and only if possible).

Rough Tour Itinerary - Ex. Bharatpur: (Participants to book their own travel from Bharatpur to Bharatpur)

Day 1 (Tuesday 9th Feb, 2016): Departure from Mumbai to Bharatpur by 12903 Golden Temple Mail, leaving Mumbai Central @ 21:30 & Borivali @ 22:05.

Day 2 (Wednesday 10th Feb, 2016): Arrival in Bharatpur @ 16:00 Hrs.... (Pick-up by local auto) Check-in Hotel in Bharatpur - Evening Snacks @ 18:00 Hrs and Presentation on Birds of Bharatpur and its History - Discussions & Dinner - Early Bed - Overnight Stay @ Hotel in Bharatpur.

Day 3 (Thursday 11th Feb, 2016): Early morning Breakfast - Proceed to Keoladeo Park in Cycle Rickshaw - Explore the Park till the nursery for scrubland birds - Packed Lunch - Continue birding in the park near Sapan Mori and near Keoladeo Temple - return for dinner and Overnight Stay at Hotel in Bharatpur

Day 4 (Friday 12th Feb, 2016): Start early morning for Chambal sanctuary....Breakfast on the way - Boat ride in Chambal river for Indian Skimmers, Ghariyal, Black-bellied Tern etc - Lunch in Dholpur town- Return to Bharatpur - Birding on the way -   Dinner - Discussion - Overnight stay at Hotel in Bharatpur

Day 5 (Saturday 13th Feb,2016):  Early breakfast - Check-out (Luggage to be kept in 2 rooms) - birdwatching inside Bharatpur sanctuary  - Packed Lunch - Proceed to Birdwatch on way back - Return by 5 pm - Evening snacks & (Drop by local auto) Depart by 6 pm to board 12926 Paschim Exp. @ 19:40 from Bharatpur.

Day 6 (Sunday 14th Feb, 2016):  Arrival in Mumbai at 14:45 Hrs

Trip charges (Bharatpur to Bharatpur only)............. Rs.15600/-

Includes Deluxe non- A/C room stay in Hotel in Bharatpur on twin sharing basis, Local travel by Cycle Rickshaw (2 person in each), To & Fro travel to Chambal WLS, Boat Safari in Chambal, Park entry charges, veg / non-veg food , Guide charges, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water…….

This does not include travel charges from Mumbai to Bharatpur and Back or any charges other than the above.

Group Size: Max.12 persons only..... However, please note that only 4 seats are remaining due to prior booking by many 

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to and by paying a non-refundable Advance of Rs.9000/- after our email confirmation…..The remaining amount will be collected on the day of travel. Please note that the seats will be confirmed only after the advance payment.

Kindly register soon as the train bookings are not easily available in the North Sector.

Stay Arrangement: Hotel in Bharatpur, near to the Park......a good and clean hotel...... The Stay arrangement is on a twin sharing basis and non-A/c deluxe accommodation. The food is mouth watering.

Resource Person: Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & local expert

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to my HDFC A/c (Please call Adesh @ 9869071091).. please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.9000/- as advance amount to the following address

Name: Mr.Adesh Shivkar
Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Sion (East), Mumbai-400022

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 9000/- is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on all Nature India Tours
3) Nest photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 or 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar)....

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar

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